The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has announced a ban of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), citing concerns over its violent content and perceived negative impact on children. It was issued at the request of Nepalese police and will go into effect today.
It’s been hard going for PUBG. In the West the game has had its position as the number one battle royale contested by titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends, but in Asia PUBG Mobile is still massively popular and matches Fortnite for players. That popularity has come at a price, with local authorities taking an unkind view of it. Fears over violent content, addiction by children, and accidents involving its player base have caused several Indian municipalities to ban the game’s mobile version altogether.
While we recently saw the first of these municipalities lift their prohibition, it appears that developer PUBG Corporation now has its work cut out for it in neighboring Nepal. The NTA is not a law enforcement organization, so this latest ban is unlikely to result in arrests. It does oversee the country’s internet service providers and network operators, however. These will now be required to halt all downloads and play of the game.
When asked, a spokesperson admitted that there had been no reports of incidents linked to the title in the Himalayan country, but said that “parents were concerned about their children being distracted from their studies or other normal routine work.”
In response to such concerns, PUBG Corporation last month promised the introduction of a new system to PUBG Mobile to promote a “responsible gaming experience.” This will include limiting play time for underage players, much like publisher Tencent has been pushing for its titles in China.
To head off further outcry, it now seems likely that this system will be rolled out across the entire region once it becomes available.
Writer, developer and esports observer from the land of cheese and windmills.